“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals.” — Pema Chödrön
Voice your intents
I'm about to start up my 3-week course in ethics for UX designers at a vocational school, Nackademin, here in Stockholm. This year I've changed parts of the students' individual course assignment. Wanting to provide an assignment that will be of long-term value, I will have them write down their own intents as a designer. This being their last class before work experience and graduation, I want to emphasise the importance of being confident in expressing your wants and desires, to increase your chances of making them real.
Most people get asked quite often about their profession, or education, what they do and maybe how they do it. This will happen at job interviews, project startups and many other types of events. Imagine being confident describing not only a job title, but what you want to achieve and why. This adds another dimension to the conversation, but maybe even more importantly, if you more often can express what you want - you will increase your chances of other people giving you space and opportunity to do just that.
Here's a simplified version of the template the students will be using to express their identity as UX Designers after three weeks of ethical reflection and reasoning.
The challenges I want to address
Concerns and risks [when making new things] are...
My power / responsibility
I have the ability to / I understand that / I can influence...
The values that matter to me
With my power, I want to address these concerns because...
The tools and skills that support success
To ensure considered decisions and evaluate progress I will...
Remember, a question from someone else can be interpreted in many ways. When people ask "What do you work with?", perhaps they really mean: "Who are you as a person and who do you want to be?". And sometimes that may also be the question you should be asking others.
Just remember to allow yourself to change as you grow.
How Swedes were fooled by one of the biggest scientific bluffs of our time
Dan Katz, licensed psychologist and psychotherapist, explains why Thomas Erikson’s success with his book Surrounded by Idiots is one of the biggest pseudoscience scandals in recent history. Translated by David Sumpter
Think-pieces and provocations
The Guardian – Douglas Rushkoff
We may come to remember this decade as the one when human beings finally realized we are up against something. We’re just not quite sure what it is.
Bright Magazine – Courtney Martin
"If you're young, privileged and interested in creating a life of meaning, of course you'd be attracted to solving problems that seem urgent and readily solvable."
The Long Now Foundation - Danny Hillis
We can no longer see ourselves as separate from the natural world or our technology, but as a part of them, integrated, codependent, and entangled.
The Correspondent - Eric Holthaus
If words make worlds, then we urgently need to tell a new story about the climate crisis. Here is one vision of what it could look and feel like to radically, collectively take action. Nice piece of speculative fiction by Holthaus.
Tools and templates
A resource that provides guidance for designing ethically humane digital products through patterns focused on user well-being.
These activities and resources will allow trainers and facilitators to collect relevant and useful feedback from high-risk users that are typically underrepresented in the design and development of open source privacy and security tools.
Everyday steps you can take to control your digital privacy, security, and wellbeing in ways that feel right to you.
Inspiration and calls to action
You can choose to be more proactive with regards to the events you attend (and speak at). If there is no clear information on accessibility, inclusion and sustainability, send an e-mail with some questions. This also helps organizers improve their communication and work towards a more compassionate mindset.
Greater Good Magazine – Zaid Jilani
Sometimes, empathy isn't enough. New research reveals how taking and giving perspectives can help us to bridge our differences.
scottberkun.com – Scott Berkun
"We have no label for adults who continue to grow, who work to better understand themselves, and who periodically chooses to re-align their life with their dreams."
Go even deeper
by Neil Postman (book, 1985)
Postman argues that the contemporary world was better reflected by Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, whose public was oppressed by their addiction to amusement, than by Orwell's work, where they were oppressed by state control. Though published in 1985, it is highly relevant to the social media age. You also don't want to miss these cartoons based on the book.
RSA Minimate | Anand Giridharadas (video=
In this powerful new RSA Minimate, TIME’s Editor-at-Large Anand Giridharadas argues that while the winners of our age might be well meaning in their desire to give back, too many stop short at the kinds of real change that would see power more radically distributed.
Seriously [BBC Radio]
In 1979, Pattie Moore, a 26-year-old designer in New York was so was so incensed by the way her colleagues ignored the needs of the elderly that she embarked on a daring piece of social research. Disguised as an 85-year-old woman, she took to the streets of America, travelling to over 100 cities, to discover the realities of being old.
March 30-31 • UX Copenhagen • Copenhagen, Denmark
Psst. I also maintain a reference database with thousands of bookmarks with articles and comments on digital ethics. It's completely free to dive into.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” — Anne Frank